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Staff Reporter
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Collector outlines benefits for Pottipuram panchayat

Clearing out: Villagers taking part in a public meeting on the commissioning of Indian Neutrino Observatory held at Ramakrishnapuram in Theni district on Thursday. — PHOTO : G. KARTHIKEYAN
Clearing out: Villagers taking part in a public meeting on the commissioning of Indian Neutrino Observatory held at Ramakrishnapuram in Theni district on Thursday. — PHOTO : G. KARTHIKEYAN

With the full support of local community, the Indian Neutrino Observatory will come up on the declivity of Western Ghats, roughly three km away from Pottipuram panchayat, said Collector P. Muthuveeran.

Announcing this after a marathon interaction session with local people and scientists from various fields held at Pottipuram here on Thursday, he said benefits to the district, particularly to this panchayat, was immense.

Major beneficiary would be student community as rural students would have an opportunity get exposure to fundamental scientific research.

Moreover, the proposed Science Park, would turn a boon to this village as it would attract people from all corners of the State.

Job opportunities would also be given to local people according to their qualifications even from the beginning of the construction work, he added.

The Central government would pump around Rs.960 crore for the commissioning of this observatory to conduct advanced research on neutrinos.

The government would take up all safety measures and conduct an environment impact study while constructing the lab, he added.

In his special address, Institute of Mathematical Sciences Scientist M.V.N. Murthy said the government had sanctioned the project.

“But we have to complete several formalities to commence our work. Already, Salim Ali Centre was conducting the environmental impact assessment at the proposed site. The project proposals had been submitted to State environmental impact appraisal committee.”

The State Forest Department had forwarded the application to the Central Forest Department for clearance.

Later, the State Pollution Control Board had to clear the project. Only then can the project be commenced.

The project would be completed in five years, he added.

On the technical side, he said that drilling would start from the Poromboke land and cut and cover region would be taken up in reserve forest area.

Initially, controlled blasting would be done in the open area and conventional blasting would be taken up after a 200-metre long tunnel to muffle sound, he added.

While clearing doubts of the local people, T. Chinnaraj Joseph Jaikumar, Principal of American College and convener of the INO Madurai-Theni cell, said this was only a research project and hence ruled out possibility of any radiation or disaster.

All measures would be taken to minimise the risks, if any, he added. The research work would be done underground only.

Asked about security restrictions, he pointed out that anybody could visit the laboratory after obtaining prior permission.

Senior Scientist from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Nabo K. Mandal said around 2.5 lakh cubic metres of boulders would be removed from the hill to construct the lab.

The stones would be stored in a safe place surrounded by 12 feet high wall.

Scientist Indumathi and TIFR Professor Deepak Samuel also spoke.

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